The Afghan Railway Authority (ARA) said that in a trilateral meeting Pakistan and Uzbekistan agreed to Afghanistan's proposed route from Mazar-e-Sharif in Balkh province to Paktika for the transnational railway project involving all three countries.
The spokesman of the ARA, Abdul Sami Durrani, said that the one-year plan to recruit of investment by international organizations for the project has been finalized.
“The three countries have agreed on the project via Mazar-e-Sharif to Paktia and Kharlachi area,” he said.
The Afghanistan Chamber of Industry and Mines (ACIM) said that the implementation of the project will improve the country’s trade and regional connectivity.
“The Trans-Afghan project is important to us to transfer our goods and import our business goods. This is so important for Uzbekistan and Pakistan as it connects Central Asia with South Asia,” said Sakhi Ahmad Paiman, the deputy head of the ACIM.
Some Afghan traders said the implementation of the project will provide job opportunities for thousands of people in the country.
“The decision of all three countries, namely Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, to agree on the Trans-Afghan project through Paktia is good news. This project benefits all people of Afghanistan,” said Mohammad Rasul Totakhail, head of the union of coal exporters.
“This railway gives value to Afghanistan's soil because of transferring Uzbekistan goods to Pakistan and from Pakistan to Uzbekistan. The people will find jobs and trade will improve,” said Khan Mohammad Sarfaraz, a member of Afghanistan's Chamber of Commerce and Investment.
Based on the Information of the ARA, the implementation of the Trans-Afghan project on the Balkh-Paktia path will help reduce the costs of the project by $1.5 billion.